Move over, cabbies ... women drivers joining taxi ranks in Oman!

Omani women have long voiced concerns over the lack of female-driven taxis.
Updated 02 February 2018
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Move over, cabbies ... women drivers joining taxi ranks in Oman!

LONDON: Oman is the latest country in the Middle East to offer female passengers access to a women-only taxi service. The news comes as part of a shake-up of the Sultanate’s road regulations announced on Monday.
The new rules, taking effect from March 1, will also allow women to drive heavy goods vehicles as part of “the government’s drive to give women equal business and employment rights,” a statement from the Omani traffic police said.
They come with a package of transport reforms to improve conditions on Oman’s roads, including stricter punishments for traffic violations, a new requirement for all passengers to wear seat belts and mandatory car seats for children under the age of four.
Women in Oman have long voiced concerns over the lack of female-driven taxis, citing safety fears, particularly when traveling alone with male drivers.
Many welcomed the move. “The decision came as a good surprise … people had been asking when will Oman have female-driven taxis,” Omani journalist Fatma Al-Arimi told Arab News.
Writing on Facebook in response to the news, Shanta Ram Gannavarapu: said “It’s good news for unemployed Omani ladies.”
Others emphasized the employment opportunities created by increasing women’s access to safe transport.
The Times of Oman quoted one woman living in Ruwi, Muscat who said, “Ladies who don’t have a license avoid taxis because of the lack of safety. I will start using taxis if women-only taxis are introduced.”
Al-Arimi said that many women already operated their vehicles as taxis under the radar. “From a women’s point of view, the decision legalizes a practice (that’s already) in place.
“Women have always been allowed to drive, but now this decision gives them more chance to make some money as well.”
Many men also welcomed the news. “The male society looks at these taxis as better alternatives to having a man driving their sisters and daughters,” she said.
The new women-driven taxis will be painted pink, blue and white to differentiate them from the traditional orange and white cabs.
The announcement follows a ruling in Saudi Arabia last year to lift the ban on female drivers. Ride-hailing apps Uber and Careem have both announced plans to bring female drivers on board in Saudi Arabia when the ruling comes into effect this June.
Women account for 80 percent of Uber’s client base in the Kingdom and 70 percent of Careem clientele.
Dubai was one of the first cities in the Gulf to introduce female taxi drivers with the “Ladies Taxi” in 2007 for women landing at the airport late at night. In 2010, Abu Dhabi launched a fleet of 70 cars exclusively for women and children and two years later Sharjah followed with a women’s dispatch taxi service to cater for women and families.
Egypt also has women-driven taxis and in 2015 a limo startup launched a new service billed as the safe solution for female travel in a country where 99.3 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment, according to UN figures.
In Jordan, where women account for about 20 percent of drivers according to national traffic department statistics, a local taxi company operates a small fleet of 10 female-driven cabs.


Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

Updated 18 June 2019
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Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

  • Morsi, was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention, says state TV
  • The former president died aged 67

CAIRO: Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi was buried on Tuesday in eastern Cairo, one of his lawyers said, a day after he collapsed in court and died.

“He was buried in Medinat Nasr, in eastern Cairo, with his family present. The funeral prayer was said in Tora prison hospital” where he was declared dead on Monday, his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud said.

Egyptian state television announced that Morsi, 67, who was ousted by the military on July 3, 2013, had been attending a court session at his trial on charges of espionage and links with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

It was reported that he collapsed in the courtroom inside a glass cage he and others had been sharing, before his body was transferred to a local hospital.

Morsi died from a sudden heart attack, state television reported early on Tuesday, citing a medical source. The source said the former president, who was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention.

Attorney-General Nabil Sadiq issued a statement saying: “The accused, Mohammed Morsi, in the presence of the other defendants inside the cage, fell unconscious, where he was immediately transferred to the hospital.

“The preliminary medical report stated that by external medical examination they found no pulse, no breathing, and his eyes were unresponsive to light. He died at 4:50 p.m. and no apparent injuries to the body were found.”

Sadiq added he had ordered the transfer of teams from the Supreme State Security Prosecution Office and the Southern Cairo Prosecution Office to conduct an investigation into Morsi’s death, and to examine surveillance footage from the courtroom and collect witness testimonies.

He also ordered that a senior forensic committee headed by the chief medical officer and the director of forensic medicine to prepare a forensic report on the cause of death.

Various outlets say that a state of high alert has been issued by the military and the Ministry of the Interior throughout the country following the news, for fear of riots or activity by the Muslim Brotherhood, in which Morsi was a prominent figure.

Morsi became president in June 2012 after the first democratic elections in the country following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak on Jan. 25, 2011. He was Egypt’s fifth president.

He was born to a family of farmers on Aug. 20, 1951, in the village of Al-Adwa in Sharkia province. He married in 1978 and leaves behind his wife, five children and three grandchildren.

Following his deposition and arrest, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on Oct. 22, 2016, over bloody clashes that took place on Dec. 5, 2012 in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and opponents of Morsi rejecting a constitutional declaration issued in November of that year.

Other sentences meant his total incarceration could have been up to 48 years, with the ongoing espionage case potentially carrying a further maximum sentence of 25 years.

In Istanbul on Tuesday, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets, mourning former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi and some chanting slogans blaming Cairo authorities for his death.

* With AFP